Invermere's year-round wild turkeys will soon be joined by flocks of migratory birds.

Invermere's year-round wild turkeys will soon be joined by flocks of migratory birds.

Secret lives of birds revealed

Our year-round wild turkeys will soon be joined by flocks of migratory birds making the Columbia Valley their home.

Our year-round wild turkeys will soon be joined by flocks of migratory birds making the Columbia Valley their home — a cause to celebrate with the Wings Over the Rockies Festival.

On April 9 registration begins for Festival events that enable us to track down these visitors to the Valley.

The website for the B.C. Breeding Bird Atlas states that 300 species of birds breed each year in B.C., more than any other province.

In 2010, Wings presenter and champion birder Russell Cannings set a new B.C. provincial record by spotting 373 species in a single calendar year.

Where can we amateur birders observe and photograph these myriads of birds? The Wings events, May 7th to 13th, show us where to look in our own backyard.

Local birding expert Randy Hopkins gets specific. On Wings Monday, he promises a Dawn Chorus at Dorothy Lake at 6 a.m. and Wood Ducks at 7:30 a.m. in the Sewage Lagoons. On Tuesday at 7:30 a.m., he’ll help us spot Harlequin Ducks and American Dippers in the Dippers and Ducks tour along Toby Creek.

On Monday at 7 a.m., Cannings teams up with Cam Gillies to lead a Mystery Tour of birding sites in our wetlands and grasslands.

Gillies joins Michael den Otter to reveal Local Birding Hotspots on Thursday morning at 7 a.m.

On Friday at 7:30 a.m., Cam Gillies and Hillary Page lead a Bird Atlassing Adventure to Kootenay River Ranch where we’ll find out how we can contribute to the B.C. Breeding Bird Atlas.

On Monday evening, Dr. Rob Butler presents Life Among the Birds, an overview of current bird research, including the B.C. Breeding Bird Atlas.

At Tuesday lunch, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Russell Cannings presents Amazing Habitat Diversity = Amazing Bird Diversity, describing his adventures from Peace River to Haida Gwaii during his record-setting bird spotting year.

Set your alarm clock early, and register soon to get in on all the secret bird habitats in our Valley.

Register… online: wingsovertherockies.org; by phone: 250-342-2473 or toll free at 855-342-2473; walk in: Pynelogs Cultural Centre April 9 to May 4: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 7 to 11: Daily from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.